Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sheriff: Bomb had already exploded

Ramsey releases details about explosive device in East Fork


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer


The star on this map indicates the street where the bomb was found.
Express graphic

    Blaine County Sheriff Gene Ramsey said Monday that a homemade bomb found in an East Fork area mailbox last week had “ineffectively” detonated before police arrived at the scene.
    “It did not operate as intended,” Ramsey said. “It had already gone off and was ineffective. I don’t believe it was intended to hurt anyone, but had someone been around it and it had gone off effectively, they would have been hurt.”
    The bomb, which Ramsey described as “very crude,” was found about 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday in a mailbox on Hyndman View Drive, which is about four miles east of the intersection of East Fork Road and state Highway 75. Police kept people away from the area until a bomb squad from the Twin Falls Police Department arrived shortly before 8 p.m. to dismantle the device.
    After using a robot to remove the device from the mailbox, the bomb squad rendered it harmless.
    Meanwhile, Ramsey has requested the assistance of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in investigating the bomb but said Monday that he had not yet heard whether the agency would be able to assist.
    The sheriff declined to discuss the configuration of the bomb, but said the device was neither a pipe bomb nor a pressure-cooker bomb like those used in the recent Boston Marathon bombings. He described the device instead as a “chemical pressure device,” indicating that the bomb was intended to explode once pressure inside had reached a certain level.
    “It wasn’t set up to detonate by someone handling it,” Ramsey said. “It could have gone off anytime. It wasn’t rigged to go off when someone opened the mailbox. It was not a booby trap.”
    The sheriff said the device also contained “metal objects” that he would only describe as “shrapnel,” which would have been dangerous had the bomb effectively exploded.
    Ramsey said evidence, which is being kept at the Sheriff’s Office, shows that the device “prematurely detonated” but not to the point of blowing up the mailbox.
    “In my opinion, it was not actually placed to do harm to someone,” Ramsey said. “It was placed there as a functional explosive device.”
    Nonetheless, the sheriff advised the public to be cautious around strange looking objects or suspicious activity.
    “I think it is important for people to be aware,” the sheriff said. “In the world we live in, people have to be cautious.”


Sheriff seeks information
Blaine County Sheriff Gene Ramsey has requested that anyone with information about a bomb found last week in the East Fork area contact the sheriff’s office at (208) 788-5555. A confidential tip can be reported by email through TIP411 program on the sheriff’s website at www.blainesheriff.com.


Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com






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